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Kasey Kahne took the checkered flag last week at the Sprint Cup Series last week for the Food City 500 out at Bristol for his first win on the 2013 circuit. This week, NASCAR goes to California for the running of the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
First held back in 1997, drivers will race around Auto Club Speedway 200 times on the two-mile track covering a total of 400 miles. Until back in 2010, the race was actually 500, but cut short to 400 miles for the last couple of races.
Over the last several seasons, the date of this race has been played around with. It’s been run in February, April, and May in addition to March, since 2005. It is one of two races held at Auto Club Speedway on the Sprint Cup circuit.
Tony Stewart comes in as the defending champion of this race, though the full 200 laps were not completed due to rain. Stewart needed to complete only 129 laps before the race was called and he was declared the winner.
Coming into the 2013 edition, Auto Club 400 betting odds available at Bovada Sportsbook have Stewart among the top race favorites, but he is not at the top. The overall favorite is Jimmie Johnson. Johnson has won this race a couple of times in his career, first back in 2002 and then in 2010.
Johnson has been slated as an 11/2 favorite to win this week in California. Last week’s runner up to Kahne, Kyle Busch, is second on the list of favorites to win this week. Busch has never won the Auto Club 400, but certainly would like to notch this victory to go along with his many others. At 7/1, oddsmakers believe that Busch will be a big contender down the stretch.
The driver who has had the most recent success at the Auto Club 400, Matt Kenseth, comes in third on the ist of favorites to win, installed at 17/2. Kenseth won back-to-back races in 2006-07, then again in 2009.
Brad Keselowski and Kahne round out the top-five favorites for the week, both going off at 9/1. Kahne will be trying to make it two-straight wins, and will certainly have confidence coming into the week.
We mentioned Stewart, the defending champion, at the onset of the race favorites, as he is set at 11/1.
Coverage of the 2013 Auto Club 400 can be seen live on FOX, beginning at 3pm ET.